WATCH: A day enjoying five things we can do again after lockdown easing

Reporters Clarissa Place (left), Sarah Burgess and Dave Hannant enjoying a session at The Games Table along Norwich Lanes

Reporters Clarissa Place (left), Sarah Burgess and Dave Hannant enjoying a session at The Games Table along Norwich Lanes - Credit: Jess Coppins

At last, the arrival of May 17 and the easing of government restrictions has allowed long-forgotten freedoms to be enjoyed once again. Sarah Burgess headed out to experience five activities which had been forbidden.

Pint at The Fat Cat pub, West End Street, Norwich

The day started at the Fat Cat brewery, where I bought myself a pint of their home-brewed real ale, the Tom Cat. 

Despite having sat outdoors at pubs since the last round of re-openings, it was refreshing and nostalgic to actually sit inside one - and even better to be able to smell the wood furniture and look around at the quirky decor.

Sarah Burgess enjoying a pint of Tom Cat ale at the Fat Cat on West End Street in Norwich

Sarah Burgess enjoying a pint of Tom Cat ale at the Fat Cat on West End Street in Norwich - Credit: Jess Coppins

Another obvious bonus was not having to worry about the weather - or having to wear three layers, two coats and a blanket just to stave off the windchill.

As someone who never usually drinks ale, there was something special about ordering the Tom Cat. It reinforced the unique offer of Norwich’s independent hospitality sector.

Friendly father and son duo Colin and William Keatley, who run the pub, made me feel right at home. I would happily have sat there all day if I could.

Colin Keatley (left) and his son William, who own and run the Fat Cat pub on West End Lane

Colin Keatley (left) and his son William, who own and run the Fat Cat pub on West End Lane - Credit: Jess Coppins

Colin Keatley (left) and his son William, who own and run the Fat Cat pub on West End Lane

Colin Keatley (left) and his son William, who own and run the Fat Cat pub on West End Lane - Credit: Jess Coppins

Lunch at Cherry Leaf Coffee House, St Giles Street, Norwich

Alas, we had places to be - and the next one on the list was my favourite cafe in Norwich: Cherry Leaf Coffee House on St Giles Street.

A die-hard fan of their cake selection, I’ve been a loyal customer even over lockdown. But there’s nothing quite like settling into their warm comfy chairs and having your meal brought over to you on a plate - surrounded by cute fairy lights and the chatter of families and friends as they reunite for the first time in months.

Gemma Gladwell (left), owner of St Giles Street's Cherry Leaf Coffee House, alongside baker Hannah Foster 

Gemma Gladwell (left), owner of St Giles Street's Cherry Leaf Coffee House, alongside baker Hannah Foster - Credit: Jess Coppins


Of course, despite the obvious fact that we are still in a pandemic and have to follow social distancing rules, I can honestly say this lunch felt “normal” - hopefully a harbinger of times to come as we steam ahead with the coronavirus roadmap.

It’s bizarre, but being inside your favourite cafe with friends, enjoying a coffee and taking time to actually enjoy the food you’ve bought INSIDE the place you’ve bought it is a luxury I never thought I’d be so desperate to resume.

Delicious lunch at Cherry Leaf Coffee House on St Giles Street

Delicious lunch at Cherry Leaf Coffee House on St Giles Street - Credit: Jess Coppins

Delicious Malteser tiffins, baked by Gemma Gladwell at Cherry Leaf Coffee House on St Giles Street 

Delicious Malteser tiffins, baked by Gemma Gladwell at Cherry Leaf Coffee House on St Giles Street  - Credit: Jess Coppins

Scones at Cherry Leaf Coffee House

Scones at Cherry Leaf Coffee House - Credit: Jess Coppins


A tour of the Castle Museum in Norwich

Museums have been a big miss in lockdown, so we headed to the Castle Museum on its first day back in business for a tour by Norfolk County Council’s museum operations manager, Stuart Garner.

Stuart Garner, museum operations manager at Norfolk County Council

Stuart Garner, museum operations manager at Norfolk County Council - Credit: Jess Coppins

Not only was it interesting to hear about what the Castle had to offer - with plenty of new exhibitions by both well-known and local artists - but it also had a great buzz about it. 

The thing which made me really happy was seeing so many other people walking around pondering the same paintings, taxidermy animals and artefacts. Accustomed to the social isolation of lockdown, you forget that people actually have things in common with one another.

Sarah Burgess (left) and Stuart Garner during a tour of Norwich Castle Museum

Sarah Burgess (left) and Stuart Garner during a tour of Norwich Castle Museum - Credit: Jess Coppins

Sarah Burgess enjoying the natural history exhibit at Norwich Castle's Museum

Sarah Burgess enjoying the natural history exhibit at Norwich Castle's Museum - Credit: Jess Coppins


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Bowling at Superbowl UK in Castle Quarter

Despite being truly awful at bowling, Superbowl UK in Norwich’s Castle Quarter absolutely had to feature in my list of places to visit on the first day of lockdown easing. 

Tammy Graves, area manager for Superbowl UK 

Tammy Graves, area manager for Superbowl UK  - Credit: Jess Coppins


Since moving to Norwich, I’ve noticed the activity is one of the city’s best-loved pastimes, and even in the middle of a Monday afternoon in May there were still groups of people out enjoying a game or two. 

It’s something I never thought I’d say, but hearing the blaring noise of the arcade machines and background chart music was delightful. 

Games at The Games Table, Lower Goat Lane

Sarah Burgess at The Games Table in Norwich

Sarah Burgess at The Games Table in Norwich - Credit: Jess Coppins

Although playing board games with friends at a city centre venue isn't something I would have considered before lockdown, it will be now as we all try and make up for lost time.

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The Games Table in Norwich offers a unique experience: the choice of playing over 340 board games while having a soft or alcoholic drink with your friends. We opted for some classics and some more modern games: offsetting Jenga with a slightly more adventurous bash at Exploding Kittens.

Jess Coppins enjoying a game of exploding kittens

Video journalist Jess Coppins enjoying a game of exploding kittens - Credit: Jess Coppins

Dave Hannant (right) wasn't too happy about losing the game of Jenga

Dave wasn't too happy about losing the game of Jenga - Credit: Jess Coppins

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